Rocker and outdoorsman Ted Nugent enters world of reality TV
By MIKE HOUSEHOLDER
The Associated Press
10/1/03 12:14 PM
They were shot with paintballs, made to sleep in a barn, construct their own outhouse and skin a Russian boar.
Is all of this worth $25,000 and prizes?
Evidently so for the seven who signed up for "Surviving Nugent," a two-hour reality program that airs this Sunday night on VH1.
In it, Ted Nugent, the outspoken rocker and outdoors enthusiast, challenges the contestants -- or "the monkeys" as he calls them -- to live off the land in his rural compound near Jackson, about 70 miles west of Detroit.
The contestants, who include a vegan, a gay man and an urban tough guy, are eliminated one by one as the Motor City Madman sees fit, and the last one standing wins the money and a truck.
Along for the ride are Nugent's wife, Shemane, son, Rocco, and his "blood brother," Big Jim, who drives the eliminated contestants down a dirt road in a pickup truck.
"We're showing off our self-sufficient, Neanderthal lifestyle," the 54-year-old Nugent said in an interview with The Associated Press. "If you can't derive some entertainment from that, you're weird."
The contestants initially were told only that their host was a legendary Detroit rock star. Some guessed it was Nugent. Others were unsure.
They were let out of a limousine on the dirt road, on which Nugent came riding toward them on horseback.
"Welcome, my little monkeys, to Camp Nuge. You're about to play a fun game of survival," he tells them.
"This is the real America where we kill our own food and live off the land. So, put away your antidepressants and diet pills and get ready to survive the Nuge."
By night, the contestants sleep in a chilly barn and during the day, they do chores like cutting tree limbs and shoveling manure. In between, they take part in challenges.
"Surviving Nugent" is scheduled for one airing, but if it is successful, it might live on in another form.
"Our hope is that it becomes the template for what would become an ongoing series for us," said Rob Weiss, head of East Coast programming and development for VH1.
Nugent, who's no stranger to television and has appeared on "Miami Vice" and "That 70's Show," thinks the show has a shot at being a success.
"I would like to think that if they can edit this, conveying the humor and the tension and drama we felt, it will be successful," he said. "I think I'm just goofy enough and the contestants tried hard enough, that it's gotta be entertaining."